Real Girls Media, a new San Francisco start-up that wants to publish content for women, has raised $6 million in a first round of funding.
We reported earlier how another company, Sugar, had raised $5 million, led by Silicon Valley high-profile venture firm Sequoia Capital, after that blog site for women showed considerable traction. So this effort by Real Girls comes is somewhat predictable: You have to raise more than your competitor to lure talent, and because Web 2.0 is bubbly right now, you can do it pretty easily.
The company hasn’t launched yet. Rather, it is constructed in the opposite way to Sugar: top down. This should be a great case study of two polar strategies: Sugar was launched with the grit of a founder’s own money; Real Girls is formed from the comfort of a venture capital firm’s arm-chair: It is founded by Kate Everett Thorp (pictured below), who was a venture partner at San Francisco venture firm Walden VC. Her job was to look for ideas, and so formed a vision on an entirely reasonable idea in this environment — of targeting women of all age groups, offering them ways to submit and publish their views and stories.
Thorp is accomplished, so we don’t want to judge this company until it launches next year. She comes from the advertising side. She launched and sold Lot21 Interactive Advertising Group for a profit — and so her project at Real Girls will likely be advertising driven, as opposed to content driven.
The backing comes from WaldenVC, and another firm, 3i.
The first Web site, DivineCaroline.com, is due to launch in early 2007, is targeted for women aged 25 to 54. Additional sites aimed at other age groups will follow in 2007, and so the multi-blog format is also similar to Sugar’s.
If you detect a note of skepticism here, it’s because we moderated a panel last night at the East Bay SVASE, in which some VCs expressed excitement about online advertising, even though we’ve seen so much activity in this area lately. Sure online ads are roaring, but the hype is causing a bevy of me-too start-ups. See the chart below (via Battelle) for why there’s something real going on. But remember, 1999 was real too.
Every day, new ad-based network start-ups are sprouting up. Did you see our piece on SeeSaw, of San Francisco, which wants to put ads in monitors in train stations? Maybe there really are people sitting around in train stations with nothing better to do than peer at ads.
Final tip to RGM: Might want to replace the grey/beige acronym logo.